Objective: Children with Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) exhibit dramatically accelerated cardiovascular disease (CVD), causing death from myocardial infarction or stroke between the ages of 7 and 20 years. We undertook the first histological comparative evaluation between genetically confirmed HGPS and the CVD of aging.
Methods and results: We present structural and immunohistological analysis of cardiovascular tissues from 2 children with HGPS who died of myocardial infarction. Both had features classically associated with the atherosclerosis of aging, as well as arteriolosclerosis of small vessels. In addition, vessels exhibited prominent adventitial fibrosis, a previously undescribed feature of HGPS. Importantly, although progerin was detected at higher rates in the HGPS coronary arteries, it was also present in non-HGPS individuals. Between the ages of 1 month and 97 years, progerin staining increased an average of 3.34% per year (P<0.0001) in coronary arteries.
Conclusions: We find concordance among many aspects of cardiovascular pathology in both HGPS and geriatric patients. HGPS generates a more prominent adventitial fibrosis than typical CVD. Vascular progerin generation in young non-HGPS individuals, which significantly increases throughout life, strongly suggests that progerin has a role in cardiovascular aging of the general population.